Not all of us are blessed enough to recognize our haters. For me personally, several of my haters throughout life escaped detection for long periods of time because of the role they had in my life (friend or relative) or because I didn’t see anything in my life worth their enmity. I’ve since learned that there’s no rhyme or reason to hatred. However, I can recognize it much better when I stop focusing on myself (what did I do, why me, etc.) and start focusing on the hater. Why did they do what they did? What do they gain from it? This line of questioning could lead you down a rabbit hole, but if you know the hater well (which is the case with friends and relatives) you already know what their motivations are or at least genesis of them.
Haters are a blessing in our life simply because anyone who actively hates someone is also actively improving them. They may not notice at the time that what they mean for harm is causing good. You may not notice in the struggle either, but when you look back from the safe distance of time you will recognize that there was something in you that the hater recognized as having great value. Such great value in fact, that they wanted it for themselves even to the exclusion of you experiencing your own gift.
My most attacked characteristic is my joy. Over the years, I’ve seen people go out of their way to attempt to take away every reason for me to smile. They told me that my laugh needed to be contained and mocked me for my kindness. For a time, I may have covered my smile and laughed into a pillow and withheld my genuine self from people. For a time…. Until I realized that the character trait under attack was the character trait they most valued in me. My haters have always asked me about my joy, laughter and smile. They have never understood how someone so exposed to the travesties of life can find the courage to laugh in the midst of those travesties, or have the audacity to smile through the pain, or have the warped sense to express joy on the descent into the pit of sorrow.
I used to entertain those questions and wonder at it myself. Then I began to listen to God’s call on my life. I started to get to know Jesus. I opened myself to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Through this process I learned what a gift my joy is – not just for me, but for others as well. So basically, my haters chased me into the heart of God where I learned who I am in Christ and where I am continually refreshed by His Holy Spirit.
Now that’s out-of-this-world Life Improvement!
Your haters are your Early Notification system that a seed holding life-altering fruit is waiting to be nurtured unto birth in you. Their job is to keep you blind to the potential laying dormant within you; to keep you at odds with yourself and therefore ineffective. The hater is on a mission to seek and destroy your seed before you recognize it for the bounty of life that it is.
So, I encourage you to go out and thank your haters today for recognizing the great gift within you long before you possibly would have seen it yourself.
I’m spending time with my extended family this weekend and I may hand out a couple of blue ribbons that say:
Walk in peace surrounded by the light.